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My goodness - a picture thread starting with a lengthy text and a very unremarkeable photograph… What is, today, an innocent urban bicycle path, flanked by office buildings, appartments and government structures, was, until 1989, part of one of the most deadly borders in the world. The Berlin Wall was not made purerly of concrete along it’s entire length. Several canals formed part of the East / West border, among them the „Berlin-Spandauer Schifffahrtskanal“. Dozens of people tried to swim across these canals in attempts to escape from the so-called German Democratic Republic. Some drowned. Some were shot. Some made it. Along this canal lie the remnants of the ancient Invalid’s Cemetary, formerly adjacent to a home for injured soldiers, founded in 1746. Many once famous soldiers from long forgotten wars were buried here. Much later in history, this graveyard formed part of the ‚border proximity zone‘ which was strictly off limits and part of the border fortifications. Most of the graves nearest to the canal and an accompanying chapel were razed in the 1960ies in order to give would-be fugitives no hiding place or cover, and in order to supply the border patrols with a clear line of sight and fire. At times, incidents would occur where East German border police shot at fleeing refugees, while West German police officers shot back at their colleagues across the border, being on order to safeguard any escape attempts. At the height of the Cold War, this could well have resulted in global desaster. Some noble graves have been restored following Germany’s reunification in 1990. Most are barely discernible outlines in the grass. There are no visual cues as to the horror this place must have exuded, but a few remnants of the smaller secondary border wall („Hinterlandmauer“) and one or two modern info-boards. I felt incongruous, walking on a warm and sunny summer’s day, birds chirping, through a deserted graveyard, along the former border, where, amongst others, a 14 year old boy was shot during an attempt to flee the country of his birth. Part of my own family was split between the East and the West. I am not partial to borders, fences and walls. Some impressions from a haphazard stroll. Maybe the discrepancy between the history and it’s near invisibility will incite your imagination. Maybe these pictures will not work at all, without having been there in person. [ All pictures in this thread: M10 ; Cron 50 V ]
War Cemetary „Lohrer Wald“ (49°50'21.52"N; 7°49'38.21“E / 32U 415678 5521508) Tucked away in the midst of an untroubled woodland, there is one of the numerous war cemetaries bestowed upon Europe by the savagery of WW II, summoned up by Nazi Germany. This is the final resting place of more than 2.000 bodies gathered from temporary graves at battlefields and POW camps in the vicinity. The serenity of the surroundings is in stark contrast to the circumstances under which those who lie here must have perished. It is almost as if the generation of survivors wanted to hide their sorrow and guilt in the dense patch of forest. The caption of the memorial plaque in the entrance hall translates „You who were sacrificed no longer see the sun and the stars, but you live in the hearts of those who believe“. This is a somewhat ambiguous statement, to be found in a number of German war cemeteries built in the early 1950ies, when coming to terms with the atrocities of the recent past was still a work in in progress, and the private and public sentiment oscillated between denial and shame. The fact that this cemetary contains the remnants of predominantly German soldiers, prisoners of war and civilians is not my point here. As in a previous post (https://www.l-camera-forum.com/topic/257654-black-and-white-image-thread/?p=3490492) I explicitely dissociate myself from any attempts at historic revisionism, relativism or exculpation. The point is, that this graveyard contains lost lives, many of them cut short in their teens. Their heritage to us should be an obligation towards peace and a comittment to civilization. [All images in this thread taken with M10 + Heliar 10mm & M9 + Elmarit 28mm asph]